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Carnegie Mellon Department of Chemistry

Guide to Graduate Studies

Degrees Offered

Ph.D. in Chemistry

Students are admitted and supported on stipend for the purpose of full-time work toward completion of the Ph.D. in Chemistry. The department normally expects degree completion in 4.5–5.5 years, with monitoring of the student’s timely progress via advisory committee meetings and an annual review by the Graduate Program Committee. Should extraordinary circumstances affect a student’s ability to work full-time on the Ph.D., he/she should consult with the departmental graduate ombudsperson (Rea Freeland) to discuss available options for continuing work on the degree and, if already at ABD status, review Carnegie Mellon’s Doctoral Student Status Policy for additional details.

M.S. in Chemistry

Occasionally, students wish to earn the M.S. in Chemistry in parallel to the Ph.D, which is typically possible in 3–4 semesters with courses for the Ph.D. also counting for the M.S. degree plus additional units from coursework and/or evidence of substantive research accomplishment (see detailed requirements, page 37). Note that the Department of Chemistry does not admit students solely for the purpose of pursuing the M.S. in Chemistry and financial support is not available for M.S. students. Rarely, a student may leave graduate studies because he/she is unable to complete the Ph.D. for academic or personal reasons. When possible, the department works with the student to facilitate completion of the M.S. in these cases. Students interested in having the M.S. option pursue sufficient coursework in the first 3–4 semesters.

M.S. in Polymer Science

Within the general requirements of the Master of Science in Chemistry, the Master of Science in Polymer Science provides the basic background for scientists and engineers to pursue technical careers in industries that manufacture, process and use polymeric materials. In consultation with an advisory committee, the student will arrange a course of studies designed to fit his or her background and career goals. Of the total 96 units, 36–48 units will be required in basic science. Courses counted toward the M.S. in Polymer Science can also count toward the Ph.D. in Chemistry, but not toward the M.S. in Chemistry or M.S. in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces degree. Students without prior research experience are encouraged to undertake a research project in collaboration with a faculty supervisor.

M.S. in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces

The Interdisciplinary M.S. in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces (CPS) degree is a joint program with Chemical Engineering designed for professionals working in the polymer field. Participating faculty include Andrew Gellman, Tomek Kowalewski, Kris Matyjaszewski, Gary D. Patterson, Lynn Walker and Newell Washburn. Primary administration of the program is handled through the Department of Chemical Engineering and students are advised by Professor Annette Jacobson, Director of the CPS Program. Course work for the M.S. in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces can also count toward the Ph.D. in Chemistry, but not also toward the M.S. in Chemistry or the M.S. in Polymer Science. The program is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering. Courses are arranged to permit a part-time student to complete the degree work in two years by attending late afternoon and evening classes and by working on a research project during the summer.